Post-Brexit Uncertainty


Roger Cohen of the New York Times termed it a “leap in the dark.”  Donald Trump hailed the vote, crowing that Brits are “taking back their country.” And Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, declared the vote “a victory against big business and big politics.”

So, what does this vote mean to you? Well, for starters, as I write this post at 9:55am on Friday, the US stock market is down 500 points. You might see your 401K drop 10, 20, or even 30%. That’s your retirement money, the extra you set aside for your later years. The Federal Reserve is watching. There is already a lot of volatility in the world – and we are all connected, you know – Asian markets fall, the British pound sterling plummets.

Spain is calling for joint control of Gibraltar. Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU, began a new move today to hold a new referendum on independence from the UK. And perhaps most importantly, Brexit spreads across Europe, with Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark all calling for referendums. Is immigration the reason? Possibly it is the major reason. “Between 1993 and 2014, the foreign-born population in the UK more than doubled, from 3.8 million to around 8.3 million, said Oxford researchers Cinzia Rienzo and Carlos Vargas-Silva. “During the same period, the number of foreign citizens increased from nearly 2 million to more than 5 million.”


In my opinion, the Brexit vote wasn’t about the economy. It was about xenophobia. And if America doesn’t pay close attention, we could follow down the same dark path.




Five Ways to Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee

So what if you’re not in London for the next few days. You can still celebrate like you’re the queen! Here are five simple ways to be royal:

1. Wear bright colors. The Queen believes she should be seen. “I can’t wear beige, because nobody would know who I am,” she has stated. She stands out among the masses, as it were, by wearing bright yellows and pinks and blues, and, of course, a fabulous hat.

2. Host a Big Jubilee Lunch. The Big Jubilee Lunch will be part of the main program of events over the central weekend of the Diamond Jubilee. A record number of people are expected to take part. A Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbors getting together in the garden or on the street, to a full blown street party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic. What to serve for your Big Jubilee Lunch? Consider Beetroot, Feta and Rocket Salad; Victoria Square Veggie Cottage Pie; and Chocolate Tiffin Squares.

3. Greet your subjects. While it’s not mandatory that everyone bow and curtsy to you, some will. Accept it with grace and a smile. Extend your hand to the people you meet; they are thrilled to meet you! And if someone like the First Lady grabs you up in a big hug, well, carry on.

4. Love animals. Queen Elizabeth loves horses (thoroughbreds, of course!) and her beloved Corgis. Princess Diana once likened the dogs at Buckingham Palace to a carpet. This follows a long tradition of the Royal Family’s affection for dogs. When Queen Victoria’s beloved Collie, Noble, died at Balmoral in 1887, he was buried on the grounds of the castle and given his own gravestone, which read: ‘Noble by name, by nature noble too. Faithful companion, sympathetic, true. His remains are interred here.’

5. Finally, embrace local traditions. The Queen has a keen interest in Scottish country dancing. Each year during her stay at Balmoral Castle, the Queen gives dances known as Gillies’ Balls, for neighbors, estate and Castle staff and members of the local community.

Happy Diamond Jubilee!

U is for Susan Utting


Photo Credit:

I knew the poem before I learned about the poet.    British poet Susan Utting’s work has won many awards, including a Poetry Business Prize for the collection Something Small is Missing. She has won the Berkshire Poetry Prize, was a winner in the Academi Cardiff International and has twice been short listed for the Arvon Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Striptease, was published in 2001 by Smith/Doorstop Books.  Her latest collection, Fair’s Fair, was just released last month.Utting runs poetry workshops throughout Britain and has taught poetry and creative writing at Reading University.  She is the founder of Reading’s acclaimed Poets’ Café, and is a member of Thin Raft Poets and Late Shift Poetry Ensemble. She has read and performed her poetry at arts venues and festivals including Edinburgh, Stanza at St Andrew’s, Ledbury, and for the Poetry Trust at Aldeburgh 2007.

She is my choice for today, and I’m adding one of her poems below.



Today’s Blue

Today’s blue’s nothing turquoise, it does not

shift in the light from duck-egg bright to aqua,

it is not a patch of sky to mend a sailor’s trousers

or the uniform of girls let out in crocodiles, on pre-set

routes through Mellor’s Park on Wednesday afternoons.

It’s not indelible on children’s tongues, or carbon

smudged on sweaty palms and touch-type fingertips,

nor is it jazzy/sad mood indigo for something small

you’ll always miss but never really had; today’s blue

is a memory of worsted cloth, tacked long and loose,

worn inside out, marked white with broken lines

of tailor’s chalk. It is a man cross-legged on a table

in a backroom; it is not my father, though he’s there

and with me and would understand the weft and warp,

the mesh of yarn, tight-woven to a blue so dark

you’d call it black; that he’d call midnight.